Legal Protections At Risk If Deal Not Reached
A policy implemented in
the aftermath of 9/11 that calls on European airlines to share
information on passengers flying into the US may be in jeopardy,
unless an agreement is reached between the two sides by the end of
Currently, information such as name, address, phone number, and
ticket payment method for passengers aboard US-bound flights from
Europe is available on the request of US officials. A European
Union court put an end to that practice in May, however, citing a
legal technicality... and gave officials on both sides until the
end of September to come up with a better way.
Well, the end of the month is fast approaching... and so far,
both sides remain deadlocked.
US Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff says he wants
even greater access to passenger data than is currently allowed...
but the EU's justice chief says time is short, and the US should
agree to changing the legal framework of the proposal, but not the
terms of the original deal. That discussion should wait until next
year, when the policy comes up for review.
"The most important need is to guarantee the continuity of
application of the ... agreement, and legal certainty," EU Justice
and Security Commissioner Franco Frattini told Reuters before the
current talks began. "I ask the US to agree on the same
Currently, airlines face fines of up to $6,000 per passenger if
they don't share the information... and while that practice would
like stay much the same even in the absence of a new deal, the way
that data is shared would change... to a far less secure method
And that, officials say, would likely spark a significant
increase in the amount of traveller complaints... as fliers
discover their personal information is suddenly available to more
people than just security officials.